On the 13-14th of July I was lucky to attend Robert Holden’s Loveability workshop in London. Having read the book and blogged about my experience with each of its five parts, I was exhilarated to put theory into practice. I expected the workshop to be nothing more than just an extension of the book, where instead of reading about concepts and meditations, I would be guided through them. However, nothing prepared me for the life-changing depth that those two days ended up taking. Combining moving real-life anecdotes, inspirational inquiries into life’s biggest questions, trance-inducing meditations accompanied by the ethereal music of Robert Norton, and heart-opening videos, the two-day boot camp transformed me into love itself.
Since sharing every single Aha moment I have experienced during those two days would take me a book or two, I decided to share with you an exercise that turned my understanding of relationships upside down. In the segment “Love Languages”, Robert introduced us to Garry Chapman’s book The 5 love languages. The book suggests that we all have different ways of expressing love, and elaborates on the top five ways that we usually do so:
- Words of Affirmation
- Physical Touch
- Love Tokens
- Quality Time
- Acts of Service
These five points alone shook me out of a condition I’ve been suffering with for as long as I can remember: Relationship Frustration. “Does he love me, or does he not?” This question defined my teenage-hood as I struggled to interpret hidden messages behind texts, gestures and body language, in a never-ending struggle to determine whether the love I felt towards another person was mutual or not.
In his book, Garry Chapman suggests that in most cases, all that relationship frustration we get so caught up with is invalid; simply because our partner is most probably expressing his love towards us… but simply in a different way. Inspired by this theory, Robert instructed us to rearrange the five love languages in order of the most common ways we choose to express and receive love, and then do the same for a chosen loved one.
It was probably one of the most life-changing exercises I’ve ever done in my life, for in ten minutes I untangled all the relationship drama and frustration I had been accumulating throughout my life, and finally found closure. In many cases, I realized that, not only had I been receiving the love from the other person, but that it had been way more than what I had expected. Ironic isn’t it?
I know you love me when…
In the book, Robert Holden suggests that, to avoid these kinds of love misunderstandings, couples should be willing to talk about their love languages, to establish an understanding of each other’s way of cognizing love. He goes on to suggest a simple exercise for accomplishing this, which I have later gone to suggest to friend couples of mine with incredible success.
The exercise suggests, looking your partner in the eyes and stating, “I know you love me when…” After you’ve stated something, your partner goes next, and you spend as long as you need to express to each other how you both understand love. This exercise is surprisingly simple, yet most couples I know choose to remain ignorant of their partner’s love languages and engage in immature love games instead.
You will be amazed by how many misinterpretations can be avoided when you are honest with your partner and share you innermost feelings about love. The act of starting an inquiry into love with your partner, will not only improve your relationship, but you will both get to experience a new face of love. A kind of love that has nothing to do with being co-depended to your partner, but it is pure and unconditional, without any expectations. I believe that, our willingness to know love and allow love to show us how to love another person, is the only ingredient we need to unleash who we really are, and engage in meaningful relationships.